Roughly one-third of Bay Area pedestrian accidents involve people who are hit in crosswalks. According to a recent study from the Center for Investigative Reporting, this number is three times the national average.
The high rate of fatal crosswalk accidents coincides with a large increase in the number of San Francisco drivers distracted by smartphones. California has banned texting while driving behind the wheel, but this law has been hard to enforce.
Other measures to improve Bay Area pedestrian safety include efforts by San Francisco to modify its most dangerous intersections. Design and light timing changes have drastically cut down on the number of fatal accidents in many of the city’s problem intersections, but the rate of pedestrian deaths remains remarkably high.
A recent article by KQED highlights the fact that there is often little legal closure for the families of pedestrian accident victims. Motorists are rarely prosecuted for causing fatal pedestrian accidents due to a widely held belief that juries are more sympathetic to drivers than the deceased victims.
Civil litigation remains the primary way that families can be compensated for pedestrian accident injuries and fatalities. Cases such as wrongful death lawsuits can compensate families for the loss of love and support from their deceased relative.
Negligence lawsuits can also help defray the costs of lost wages and medical bills typically associated with non-fatal pedestrian accidents.
Source: KQED, “How Bay Area Street Designs Can Kill Pedestrians,” May 1, 2013